Out­post law ad­vances de­spite Bibi’s warn­ing

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BYANSHELPF­EFFER

THE “REG­U­LA­TION Law” passed its first Knes­set read­ing on Mon­day, help­ing solve the coali­tion cri­sis but not pre­vent­ing the planned evic­tion of the Amona set­tle­ment out­post by De­cem­ber 25.

The law, which is ex­pected to be chal­lenged in the High Court, is sup­posed to retroac­tively le­galise set­tle­ments built in the West Bank on pri­vate Pales­tinian land.

How­ever, in or­der to gain a ma­jor­ity, a clause le­gal­is­ing set­tle­ments al­ready the sub­ject of le­gal pe­ti­tions, such as Amona, was dropped. The read­ing of the law passed 60-49 af­ter cen­tre-right party Ku­lanu agreed to sup­port it once the clause was ex­punged.

The leg­is­la­tion went ahead de­spite Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu’s warn­ing that it could prompt in­ter­na­tional pres­sure and even ac­tion in the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court.

Last week­end, Defence Min­is­ter Avig­dor Lieber­man said Is­rael should wait un­til af­ter the new US ad­min­is­tra­tion was in­stalled in Wash­ing­ton Knes­set protest by Amona residents be­fore push­ing though the leg­is­la­tion.

Mr Ne­tanyahu was forced to al­low the coali­tion to sup­port the law due to threats from Jewish Home that it would leave the gov­ern­ment over the evic­tion of the Amona out­post, sched­uled to take place by De­cem­ber 25. Only one coali­tion mem­ber voted against — for­mer Likud min­is­ter Benny Be­gin, who called the law “a moral trav­esty that le­galises theft and leaves a stain on Is­rael”.

Iron­i­cally, while it may have averted a coali­tion cri­sis, not only will the “Reg­u­la­tion Law” not cover Amona, but it is likely to be ruled un­con­sti­tu­tional by the High Court.

Mean­while, a gov­ern­ment plan to re­lo­cate the Amona set­tlers to ad­ja­cent plots of land which were thought to be aban­doned has also fallen through as it turns out that most of them are also pri­vately owned by Pales­tini­ans.

The dif­fi­culty in work­ing out an al­ter­na­tive plan for the Amona fam­i­lies will prob­a­bly lead the gov­ern­ment to re­quest a last-minute de­lay from the High Court, but it is un­likely they will be suc­cess­ful, as the jus­tices have made it clear that De­cem­ber 25 is the fi­nal dead­line.

A se­nior mil­i­tary of­fi­cial warned this week that the evic­tion could “cause shock­waves” in the West Bank, which has largely been calm over the last eight months.


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